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Post-reading-binge blues (and the remedy)
To my fellow Gothic-reading companions:

Every several months or so, I go on a binge ordering books online. I've been known to order a dozen at a time, exercising every denial mechanism at my disposal concerning my bank balance. For the most part these books are Gothics (ever since I discovered my taste for the genre a year ago), and naturally they're used copies. (I don't really like the term "used books" -- couldn't we just say "pre-read books" or is that over-sliding the bag?)

As many of you probably know, there are few thrills in life as keen as finding a neatly packaged, bubble-wrapped book in the mailbox and knowing that it is only the first in a series, a flood, a cornucopia of delights to come. They arrive faster than I can read them, they pile up, gracing my bed-table in a gorgeous, teetering stack. I love old books, even old pulp paperbacks once meant to be disposable after reading. That smell of old acidulated paper -- a little musty, acrid, peppery -- is part of the experience. It's a foreign smell in today's world; it brings back the past.

But what goes up must come down. The orders have all shipped and soon they have all arrived. A momentary twinge of panic crosses my mind: there won't be any more books arriving! But that's okay, I've got my reading lined up for the foreseeable future, and I sigh in relief. But as I read the stack dwindles, little by little, inch by signature-bound inch, and before I know it I'm reaching for my last book -- and realizing that there isn't another one underneath it!

The depression, the anxiety that ensues, is real turmoil. You see, I believe that people have the right to escape the horrors of this world by any means they can. Well, not ANY means perhaps, but the sanctid "reading hour" before bed is in my opinion about as benign as escapism gets. To be deprived of this modest comfort at the end of a long, angst-ridden day . . . well, that's too much to ask of a soul.

Fortunately, there is a remedy -- indeed, a preventative measure -- for this unthinkable condition. I can order more books! Even feeling the current economic pinch, it's not out of the question to buy a couple of books. Books, thank heavens, are cheap. (Libraries are free, and I use mine, but I'm a collector.) Even during lean times most of us can still afford a book now and then. And what else can one buy as a holiday or birthday gift for under $30 that is as meaningful as a book?

-- Penfeather

Currently in the stack:

(1) The Nightmare Chase by Evelyn Berckman
(2) The Crown Estate "
(3) The Heir of Starvelings "
(4) The Victorian Album "
(5) Journey's End "
(6) Dark Inheritance by Carola Salisbury
(7) An Autumn in Araby "
(8) The Winter Bride "
(9) We Have Always Lived in The Castle by Shirley Jackson

(Within my reading binges there are often mini-sprees of books by the same author. If I like a book by an author I've just discovered, I like to linger in that author's mind for a while before moving on to the next author. Lately, as you can see, it's been Berckman and Salisbury.)
I'm fortunate to live in a medium-sized city with a good quantity of Gothics at the local used bookstore.

However, there is definitely a particular delight in receiving Gothics in the mail. Yep, the anticipation...carefully opening that bubble-wrap mailer...and I love it when the book has been carefully wrapped in heavy brown or gray paper. Smile

I've decided no more mail-order books, though. It adds up on the credit card, and besides I've got roughly 300 Gothics now.

It's difficult, though, because in the past 2 weeks I've seen 4 titles with gorgeous cover art I'd love to have - which would have to be mail ordered. *sad sigh*

So yes, there's the "blues" in that regard. It's definitely a treat, waiting for a Gothic novel package!

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